A little while ago I stayed in a hotel near London City Airport and went for a run around Canary Wharf in the evening. As I ran past the stainless steel columns and glass edifices that are temples to money I felt strangely free. I was not part of this world, not trapped by its conventions and demands; I ran free.
Because I was not part of their world no one noticed me, even though I was wearing an orange day glow t-shirt with a fluorescent logo. I ran in my own world separated from their bright lights and shiny facades. No one saw the joy in my heart. Shining over the Millennium Dome was a green laser, the last time I had seen something similar was during the 50 mile stage of the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert when a laser was used to help guide runners through the night. Memories came flooding back of that epic run. Memories of running for hours on end and not seeing a living thing, just mile after mile after mile of burning sand. The cold, dark nights with the heavens crammed full of thousands and thousands of stars. The incredible pain of severely blistered feet; the determination to keep going and the elation of crossing the finish line.
The executives in the buildings towering above me might have expensive Mercedes, lavish expense accounts and big bonuses, but I know who is richer. As I ran I thought about my wealth of memories and thought about the jewels in the crown. The day my first child was born and seeing her cradled in my wife’s arms. Watching my second daughter being born and seeing my wife’s face as she gazed lovingly at her. There can be nothing more beautiful than the tender, but powerful, love a woman has for her child. But my most powerful and precious memory is of being waken early in the morning by a fractious toddler and watching cartoons with her. Later being joined by her older sister and sitting with an arm around each of them the richest and happiest man in the world.
My memories shine like the biggest and brightest diamonds, no one will ever have enough money to buy these treasures.
In the morning I took the Docklands Light Railway into town. As we passed the Bank of America building I saw, trapped behind the glass, people running on treadmills in the third floor gym. I am glad I run free.